By Sarah Hall
For Meghan Piper, one day very rarely looks like the next.
The Liverpool Central School District school information officer is constantly on the move, covering what’s happening in one of Onondaga County’s largest school districts. She’s responsible for letting the media know what’s going on in any one of Liverpool’s 14 school buildings as well as coordinating media requests for interviews, stories and more, and she handles it with aplomb.
“What I might have planned for a given day can easily change in an instant depending on what is happening in the district or what the media may contact me about,” Piper said. “I like that about my job.”
Piper was named this year’s Philip A. Hofmann President’s Award winner for Best News Source by the Syracuse Press Club at the group’s annual dinner, held Saturday, May 6.
The award, named for a former Syracuse Herald-Journal/Herald-American managing editor and SPC president, is presented to those “in government, business, and community organizations who effectively work with the media to communicate important public information,” according to the press club’s website.
Piper’s role is multifaceted: she writes press releases, takes photos, designs the school newsletter and brochures, works on the district website and social media pages, implements new means of communication for the district and much more.
“My role in the district is really a jack-of-all-trades,” she said. “I do pretty much anything they need or want me to help with.”
Piper, a lifelong Liverpool resident who graduated from LHS in 1995, originally planned to work in sports media, having interned with the sports department at WTVH-5 while attending Le Moyne College, where she also served as editor of the school newspaper, The Dolphin for a year. She even served as a part-time sports producer before graduating. But writing always called to her, and when she was presented with the opportunity to edit the Liverpool Review, she jumped at the chance.
“I felt like it would be a great learning experience,” Piper said. “I discovered a lot about the community where I grew up — from the towns and villages to the school district.”
During her two-year tenure at the Review, Piper’s favorite stories to cover involved the community’s youngest residents, helping her to get acquainted with those in charge of the Liverpool Central School District.
She learned of the opening for the district’s school information officer in 2001 and applied. She’s worked for the district ever since.
Piper said her favorite parts of the job involve seeing the interactions between the district’s older and younger students.
“I especially enjoyed the community’s response to the LHS Class of 2016 purchasing T-shirts for this year’s kindergarten students,” she said. “And last year the high school introduced Senior Walks, where seniors returned to their elementary schools at the end of the school year to the cheers of their former teachers and the younger students.”
But the highlight of her news career so far, she said, was in 1999, when, as editor of the Review, she covered the New York State Comptroller’s luncheon at the New York State Fair.
“President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton attended and both spoke — one of a very few speaking engagements while they were vacationing in Skaneateles,” Piper recalled. “I was just a few months out of college, so to be in the same room as the sitting president and first lady seemed crazy to me. It’s something I will never forget.”
In addition, Star-Review editor Sarah Hall received a second place award for graphic illustration for her graphic, “Election 2016.”
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club’s Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.